Rosie O’Donnell has raised over $600,000 dollars for The Actors Fund in a live-stream YouTube benefit featuring the great and good from the acting community in Broadway and Hollywood.
When the actress and entertainer heard of the plight facing those in the entertainment industry she and producer Erich Bergen hastily arranged to resurrect her old talk show for 1-night only to raise funds for The Actors Fund – a national charity that supports out of work people in the entertainment industry.
Broadcasting sans make-up and lighting from her garage in New Jersey, the former talk show host chatted to Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gloria Estefan, Pattie Lupone, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Adrienne Warren, Laura Benanti, Jeremy Pope, Jordan Fisher, Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim and Idina Menzel—along with video messages from Annette Bening, Marisa Tomei, Bernadette Peters.
What is truly impressive is that all these people performed from home, many accompanying themselves on the piano or guitar.
You can watch the show in full or fast forward to some of our favourite bits.
- Adrienne Warren singing “Simply The Best” from her bath tub. Warren originated the title role in Tina – The Tina Turner Musical in the West End and on Broadway.
- Kristin ‘needs no introduction’ Chenowith singing “Taylor the Latte Boy“.
- Broadway icon Patti LuPone singing a double bill of Victor Coles “100 Years From Today” and “Smile” by King Cole.
- Dear Evan Hansen and The Politician star Ben Platt performing Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love“.
- Broadway power couple Audra McDonald and Will Swenson singing their version of “Smile“.
- Billy Porter (Pose, Kinky Boots) singing a single verse of “Not While I’m Around” from Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.
- Alan Menken playing a Disney mash-up including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Tangled, Enchanted and throwing in a bit of Little Shop of Horrors.
- Seven time Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara (The King and I) singing Take Me To The World
- Miss Saigon supremo Lea Salonga singing Reflection” from the Disney animated film Mulan